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Drugstore lipsticks are kind of like pick 'n' mix—they're a purse-friendly treat with unexpected surprises, and they'll also improve your day significantly. Let's not forget the variety of lipsticks on offer in the drugstore aisles now: We're talking a mix of texture, color, finish and pigment in place of the wishy-washy chalk-like lipsticks of the past.
Previously, buying a drugstore lipstick was more akin to a risky game of roulette, as the formulations just weren't up to scratch. As product development in that price point has come on leaps and bounds, it's finally time to reacquaint ourselves with those shelves of lipsticks.
To get you ready for your next shopping trip, we've picked out the best drugstore lipsticks for you to have some fun with.
Best Overall: Maybelline Color Sensational Creamy Mattes Lip Color
Mattes are notorious for drying down to a scaly finish, but not this one. The creamy, velvety Maybelline lip color comes in a classic bullet shape and smooths over lips without emphasizing lines or dryness. You’ll find that one coat is enough, thanks to a rich color payoff, with no streakiness to speak of.
Best Budget: NYX Professional Makeup Butter Lipstick
Each candy-colored tube twists up into a creamy, richly pigmented lipstick bullet. The resulting satin finish, which isn’t too shiny or too flat, is surprisingly versatile—the Butter Lipsticks layer well with lip gloss if you want more dimension, and also blot down to a lip stain without taking patches of color with it. There’s no color bleed, feathering, or fading, and the color selection, which spans nudes all the way to a deep wine red, leaves something for everyone.
Best Liquid: Maybelline SuperStay Matte Ink Lip Color
This lipstick is about to become your wing woman and dining companion. It won't leave your lips regardless of what you throw at it (burgers, ice cream—you name it). There are also plenty of shades to see you through every situation when you need a solid lipstick on your side.
Best Matte: NYX Professional Makeup Matte Lipstick
There's so much disappointment when you see a super-pigmented color in the bullet, but its fabulousness doesn't translate when you glide it onto your lips. This lipstick knows there's no time for lackluster color pay off with its range of smooth shades.
Best for Dry Lips: Revlon Ultra HD Matte Lip Color
Reviewers love the Revlon Ultra HD Matte lipstick for its thick, hydrating formula, with ingredients like aloe vera and shea butter to soothe parched lips. It’s overall an excellent formula for anyone who’s found matte lipsticks unwearable—the lip color’s gentle, non-sticky, and doesn’t feel tight, even after drying down.
The first coat applies easily with the doe-foot wand, which easily fixes up any smudging (no caking when reapplying, either). The Ultra HD Matte Lipcolor isn’t a true matte finish—there is a subtle shine once it dries—but can be blotted down to one. As you wear it, the lip color fades gracefully without leaving a ring around your mouth. It’s long-lasting enough to not feather or stray, but you won’t need to pry the pigment off at the end of the night.
Best Long-Wear: Physicians Formula Healthy Lip Velvet Liquid Lipstick
Once you apply it with the doe-foot wand, this lipstick doesn’t transfer, nor does it settle in cracks or squeeze lips as it dries down. The finish is either satin or a velvety matte, depending on how much you apply and whether you blot afterward. Moisturizing avocado oil and vitamins A and E make the liquid lipstick very comfortable to wear. The color range errs on the neutral side, the better to complement showier eye looks, but aren’t boring on their own either.
Best Crayon: Revlon Colorburst Balm Stain
The oversized crayon shape probably already told you, but this balm stain suits a low-maintenance approach to makeup. Lip stains are usually drying and blotchy, but the Revlon Balm Stain prevents this with a moisturizing mix of shea, mango, and coconut butter. The self-sharpening crayon (with a secure cap) means you can be as precise as you want to be.